by Arjun Walia
“To succeed in your professional life isn’t that hard, but to succeed in your personal life is a lot harder. To really be a human is a lot harder. We forget about that.”
These are the words of Yann Arthus-Bertrand, director of the film Human, from which the clip below was taken.
The gentleman in the clip is Jose Mujica. Dubbed ‘the world’s poorest president,’ he recently retired after a five year run as the president of Uruguay.
In the 60’s and 70’s, he was a Tupamaros freedom fighter, and was subsequently detained and put in solitary confinement for 13 years.
After holding several positions within the Uruguayan government, he eventually became the president of his country, serving from 2010 to 2015. Over the course of his life he has endured the unimaginable, and he offers us today some wisdom borne of his incredible experiences.
“I dedicated myself to the struggle for change, to improve life in my society. And now, I am the president.”
Below the video you will find 6 facts about life and the current human experience that will definitely have you questioning your role in this world.
1. Your Time Here Is Limited – What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?
“And tomorrow, like everyone, I’ll just be a can of worms, and disappear.”
As Gandalf the Grey from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings once said:
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
Life is indeed short, and our time here is limited, so ask yourself, what do you want to do with the time that has been given to you?
Being born today probably means you’re going to spend most of your childhood in school, most of your adolescence in more school, and then most of your adulthood at work.
Unfortunately, even after expending all this effort and sacrificing all this time, many of us can barely afford a roof over our heads and healthy food on the table. We are, for lack of a better term, ‘slaves to the system.’
What is truly depressing about this cycle is that it is entirely unnecessary. Nothing about our existence inherently require us to live in this way.
And while we should of course be grateful for the opportunities we have in life and for being able to afford basic necessities — a luxury many people do not enjoy – we should nevertheless continue striving for more — more freedom, more choice, more autonomy.
Personally, I believe you can create your own life, or at least create joy in yourself regardless of your circumstances. I have been placed in multiple situations that I did not want to be in, but I chose to accept them and look at them as challenges and opportunities for growth.
In the meantime, I still engaged myself in my passions as much as I could. While we cannot always choose our circumstances, we can always choose our attitude about them.
Do what ignites your soul as much as possible — this is my philosophy. If you don’t know what your passion is, start paying closer attention to the way things make you feel.
When you find yourself excited about something, take note of it, and begin to think of ways to incorporate it into your daily life. There is always a step you can take, no matter how small you perceive it to be.
If you have an intention in your heart, whether it is to make the world a better place or to help other people, that intention alone can be the starting point of something great, provided you take the necessary action steps to get there.
So I ask you again, what ignites your heart? What would you like to spend your time doing? What would you like to work towards?
Doing what you love makes you feel good, and we need more people on this planet who feel happy and fulfilled within themselves, radiating that positivity outwards.
I think the biggest takeaway from this is to be grateful for your life, and take full advantage of this precious gift while you can.
2. Changing The World Isn’t Easy
“I dedicated myself to the struggle for change… I had many setbacks, many injuries, some years in prison. Anyway… The routine for anyone setting out to change the world. Miraculously, I’m still here. And above all, I love life.”
If you are on this site and reading this article, there’s a good chance you have within you the desire to change the world.
I receive emails all the time from people who want to have a positive impact, but they just don’t seem to know where to begin. In many cases, they don’t feel like they are even capable of having any significant impact on the world.
This is one thing that I have struggled with and still do; I often feel like my actions do not matter. I’ve learned, however, that the change you effect in this world cannot be measured in dollars and cents or by Facebook likes and followers.
It is not quantifiable in that way. Your impact is measured by how you treat others in your everyday life. If you can operate from a place of inner peace, if you can be kind to others, and if you can maintain a desire to help people, you will be well on your way to making significant planetary change.
It’s not an easy process. Your will is going to be tested and your buttons are going to be pushed. Most people who wish to spend their lives changing the world often experience hardships.
These hardships will make you who you are, these hardships are lessons. There is more than one way to change the world, and if your heart is calling you to a specific area, you must not be afraid to follow it.
You should, however, be aware that it will not be easy, but also that nothing worthwhile ever is. Following your heart means nourishing your soul.
3. To Be A Leader Your Values & Way Of Life Have To Reflect That of The Whole
“I stand out because my values and way of life reflect those of the society to which I am honoured to belong.”
This is what a real president does, and this is representative of a real democracy. Today, leaders of various countries do not represent and reflect the values of their society, but rather serve the corporations and big financial institutions that pay them.
The corporate control over government policy and various government initiatives is nearly absolute at this point and it is truly terrifying.
Current presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also brought up this fact in a recent debate with Hillary Clinton. You can read more about that and watch it here.
A real leader represents their country, not their sponsors.
4. Happiness Is An Inside Job
“Either you’re happy with very little, free of all that extra luggage, because you have happiness inside, or you don’t get anywhere! I am not advocating poverty. I am advocating sobriety.”
This is a common philosophy here at Collective Evolution. As yourself, are your ‘wants’ really your own, or have they been programmed into you via mass marketing?
So many people continue to search for happiness in material wealth, only to find it and realize that such external factors can only provide a temporary sense of happiness.
We are constantly searching outside of ourselves to feel good or to experience joy or a sense of relaxation. While there are tools out there that can help you to achieve these states, I believe real joy begins within you.
True happiness is experienced from a place that has nothing to do with material wealth or external possessions. If you are chasing these things, you can expect the chase to continue for the rest of your life — or at least until you confront your inner demons.
“But since we have invented a consumer society, the economy must constantly grow. If it fails to increase, it’s a tragedy. We have invented a mountain of superfluous needs. Shopping for new, discarding the old… that’s a waste of our lives!
“When I buy something, when you buy something, you’re not paying money for it. You’re paying with the hours of life you had to spend earning that money. The difference is that life is one thing money can’t buy.”
5. It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way
Today, most of the world’s resources are accumulated in the hands of a very small group of elite, also known as the ‘1 percent.’ They own everything, and the quote below basically explains why this need not be the case.
The world has been overtaken by greed, ego, and a lack of care for our fellow human being. We must return to our hearts if we are to move forward as a race.
“Uruguay is a small country, and we don’t have a presidential jet. We don’t especially care to have one. From France we decided to buy a very expensive helicopter, a rescue helicopter with surgical facilities, to stand by in a remote area.
“Instead of buying a presidential jet, we got a helicopter that will be posted in central Uruguay to rescue accident victims, and offer ongoing emergency medical services. It’s so easy! Do you see a dilemma? A president jet, or a rescue chopper?”
Get the point? He then goes on to say:
“It always comes down to that. It seems to me to be a question of sobriety. I’m not suggesting we go back to living in caves or straw huts. Not at all. That’s not the idea. What I do recommend is that we stop wasting resources on useless things, on luxurious houses that require six servants to maintain…
“We can live much more modestly. We can spend our resources on things that are really important for everyone. That’s the real meaning of democracy, the meaning that politicians have lost… In Germany, they escorted me with 25 BMW motorcycles, they put me in a Mercedes-Benz, with doors that weighted 3 tons because of the armoring. What good is any of that?”
It is dismaying, to say the least, that the money spent on one specific US military program alone — the building of fighter jets for example — could basically alleviate world hunger.
That allocation of the resources on our planet is so ludicrous, I don’t really believe I even need to go into a discussion about it.
“It’s not a lack of resources. It’s a lack of governance. Governments are preoccupied with winning the next election, with who’s going to be boss. We fight for power… and we forget people and world issues. The crisis is not environmental. It’s political.”
6. A Planetary Consensus Is Needed If We Are To Move Forward As A Human Race
“Our civilization has reached a phase where we need a planetary consensus, and we are looking away from it. We are blinded by chauvinism and by the thirst for domination, especially the most powerful countries.
“They should be setting an example! It is shameful that for 25 years, since the Kyoto Accords, we are still dragging our feet to take basic measures. It is shameful. Man may very well be the only animal capable of self-destruction.”
This is something I have felt for years, which is why I was so thrilled to come across a platform like Collective Evolution.
It represents, for me, that part of humanity that wants to move forward as one human race; it represents the urgency I feel within my own heart to come together as a collective and make change happen.
We need to re-birth our human experience, and in doing so we must inevitably go through birthing pains. Through this metaphor it becomes clear why we have such difficulty letting go of the norm and embracing change in our own lives.
That being said, having worked in this field for several years now, I can say with certainty that the planetary consensus is strong and no doubt growing by the day.
Our potential is truly remarkable, and we have yet to even comprehend how much we are capable of achieving.